Fiscal restraint is a worthy and necessary practice in our federal government, and I welcomed the chance to participate in the White House’s Fiscal Responsibility Summit this week.

Many that attended the Summit expressed their support for restraining government spending. This is an admirable goal and one I fully intend to support. But many of the ideas I heard were temporary fixes and short-term steps. If we are truly to deliver America out of the red and prevent our children and grandchildren from inheriting inordinate IOUs, we must address the long-term financial issues our country faces.

According to the Senate Republican Budget Committee, the nation has $67 trillion in unpaid-for promises that the federal government has made to beneficiaries; the Administration and Congress must begin to address this now. This is almost $220,000 for every man, woman and child in America. And every year that we fail to debate and consider meaningful reforms to our nation’s entitlements, this number will continue to grow.

I fear that the Administration and many of my colleagues may think the concept of fiscal restraint comes with an expiration date. Congress just passed a $1 trillion spending bill, but now many seem ready to embrace fiscal responsibility and trim the national budget. Imposing higher taxes on working families and small businesses, including allowing the 2001 and 2003 tax relief to expire, is the wrong approach to getting government spending under control and it fails to recognize that our debt is going to be driven by government spending.

The President must back up his promises of responsibility and restraint with real and lasting action, not more rhetoric. I stand ready to assist in making our government more accountable and responsible for the long-term.